173 Looking Old-School in Black and White

October 26, 2018

I thought it would be fun to look at some pictures of 173 taken over the years, but do it retro-style!  There's really no other point to it, than simple art.  173 in 2018 -

And here's the original owner, Mr. Mosher in what looks to be the 1930s or so:

Mr. and Mrs. Mosher, year (let alone decade) unknown...

No idea who, or when...

And some recent outdoor shots, in no particular order, starting with Cyd:

And the vegetable garden a number of years ago when we tried to wattle it.  Linus broke through in no time!

The back yard.

Side yard, ar least 2015 I suppose.  The oriel hadn't been redone yet.

The shed, looking good in black and white, better than in real life actually.  Two years in a row now I intended to work on the shed - two years in a row I didn't get to it...

I love winter!

Back when I had hair and my goatee didn't blend with the snow!

And every winter I worry about the carport!

Which takes us to Christmas...

This next picture really looks old-timey!

The Christmas tree a couple years ago...

Out on the front porch...

Looking out the living room:

Speaking of the living room (and there's Linus!)...

Then into the kitchen, I suppose this is the wolpertinger wall!

Which then takes us to the dining room.  This is the "art" corner...

And Linus in his favorite spot in the dining room:

The fireplace in the dining room...

The microscope I got for Christmas when I was 10 or 11 years old...

An old-school lamp on the mantel

And finally, Old Glory even looks great in black and white!

Hallways: Yet Another Hallway Detail

October 14, 2018

This past spring the hallways and stairwell were redone - finally. But, like most projects, there was still a matter of some details that needed to be completed, and in the case of the hallways it's just a matter of decor.   The end of the upstairs hallway has always been a bit of a decorating challenge, at least for me!

(And no - the cordless drill was not a design element!)  When we first bought 173, there was a full length mirror on that wall with a small fluorescent light above it.  I took both down when we painted it the first time back in about 1999, and when I was re-installing the mirror I tightened one of the wall clips juuust a little too much and - CRACK! - there she went.  It was too bad too, the mirror was an old, heavy model with a nice beveled edge - leave it to me.  Since then, that end of the hallway has essentially been blank.  When the hallway was finished earlier this year, I installed a new sconce...

...which matched the downstairs hall light...

I prattle on because I want to point out the primary cause for that wall of the hallway being such a decoration challenge.  You see, when I took out the old mirror and light, I wanted a switch to work the light box.  I was still pretty new to remodeling, so I put in a switch at the nearest possible point:

Putting both the sconce and the switch at just the proper height and placement for hanging pictures.  I thought about changing it all, but then thought that 173 is full of oddities, and this is just another harmless one!  But then there was the challenge of how to make that wall less empty.  Then one even I was watching an episode of Frasier, and noticed this in Niles' office:

A sconce similar to the one here at 173, right about the spot you'd hang a picture, but oho!! I never thought of hanging one below the sconce!  Brilliant!  And I knew just the picture I wanted, a longtime George Inness work called Medfield Massachusetts:

It's always been one of my favorite paintings, and the colors fir perfectly with the hallway, so up it went!  Here's a shot in daylight:

It gets a little washed out, but it still looks awesome, but it really pops in the evening with the sconce turned on!

There - that end of the hallway finally looks better!

Ode to the Hemlock at 173

October 7, 2018

Thoreau wrote, "The spruce the hemlock and the pine will not countenance despair...surely joy is the condition of life."  Sometimes I'm astounded by the little coincidences that happen around me.  Last week I started reading Faith in a Seed by Henry David Thoreau, which describes his observations of trees and nature around Concord, Massachusetts in the mid-nineteenth century.  If you're a gardener, or just enjoy nature in general, it's a pretty interesting read!  The coincidence here is that this was the weekend that the hemlock tree in the back yard here at 173 was to be removed.  Taking out trees that one planted and watched grow over time is always a very poignant moment - at least for me.  Here's a bit of the back story...

About 12 years ago, the hemlock was planted in the back yard.  The yard needed some evergreens back there because in winter it could get pretty bleak looking out there.  From the very start it was clear that there would come a day when the hemlock would have to come down.  173 has a small yard, and hemlocks can get pretty big - but the thought was that it would be enjoyed until it started to get too big to be removed easily.  And - enjoy it we did.  The hemlock was beautiful in all seasons, with winter being an absolute highlight!

There's something about a hemlock tree with snow resting on its branches!  Even Robert Frost waxed poetic about it...

The way a crow 
Shook down on me 
The dust of snow 
From a hemlock tree 

Has given my heart
A change of mood 
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Absolutely describes what that tree could do to 173's back yard when winter began to wear on!  So, before I move on, I want to go back to Thoreau's Faith in a Seed.   In the book, Thoreau discusses the dispersion of tree seeds, and his observances of how the wind carried the seeds, and how the mechanics of squirrels and other forest creatures assisted the process.  In one section he describes watching squirrels strip pine and hemlock cones, to eat the seeds.  This inspired me to pull apart a hemlock cone and, for the first time since I was a kid living on Lincoln Street, I examined and marveled at the simplicity of nature:

See the dark spot on the end of the flake in the lower right of the picture below?

That part is the seed!  I mean - it's tiny!!  And from that little speck grows a full size hemlock that lives for decades!  Now I understand what Thoreau meant when he wrote, "Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders."  

The hemlock at 173 has been the home to two generations of morning doves,

...a family of robins...

...and a fun little ceramic owl!

But alas, the dreaded day finally arrived.  The day it was decided that now was the last real opportunity to remove the hemlock safely without needing to hire someone.  And, with not just a little sorrow...

...the chore was undertaken...

I know it was just a tree, but I hated every moment of it, even Linus looked a bit sad...

The yard looks so empty!

But there's a plan!  An opportunity to plant anew, and once again witness the growth of a new back yard friend!

The arbor vitae will grow tall, but not have the spread the hemlock had, and, as an added bonus, we got the arbor vitae for $25 as Lowes was having their clearance sale!  Say hello to 173's newest addition!

The back yard still looks a bit empty...

...but in a few years I think it'll bring depth and proportion to the yard, much like the arbor vitae had done for the front yard...

Stick around and watch with us!

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